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Indian rugby players go missing in France, human trafficking suspected

A piece on the kids from Punjab and Haryana who've gone missing after being taken to a rugby training camp in Paris.

News 02 Jan 2018, 12:50 IST

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Human trafficking shell-shocks rugby

What’s the Story?

India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has unearthed a major incident wherein a human trafficking racket was being run under the masquerade of a rugby training camp when they received information from Interpol following the French police's report after recovering one of the victims.

In Case You Didn't Know

In February 2016, 25 boys hailing from Punjab and Haryana were supposedly flown out to France for a rugby training camp. Of the 25, just two have returned, sparking concern for the others and giving rise to serious doubts about a possible case of child trafficking ring.

The Heart of the Matter

A deeper investigation into the matter has revealed that the two schools which the boys were shown to be enrolled at have refused claims that they were students of their institutions. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) further found out that each of these students’ parents were asked to cough up INR 25-30 lakhs for participating in the camp, one of whom had wanted to send his ward to the United States of America but difficulties in procuring necessary documents forced him to contact one of the agents involved with this racket.

A CBI spokesman shed further light on the matter when he revealed that the French visas obtained for these boys were based on an invitation reportedly received from the ‘French Federation’ in the country’s capital. While all of the kids are supposed to have visited Paris, the agents seem to have gotten their return tickets canceled. Sensing something was not quite right, the two boys who have returned home managed their way back.

What’s Next?

Delhi and Faridabad residents Lalit David Dean, Varun Chaudhary and Sanjeev Raj have been identified as the suspected trafficking agents. Apart from an FIR being lodged against the accused, their lodgings were combed in order to sniff out clues from any documents or devices left behind.

Author’s Take

The police and affiliated authorities need to make concerted efforts in communicating with embassies to ensure that gullible parents and children are not lured into such false schemes which risk their safety and well-being.

Further, the national sports bodies for each game need to make efforts to organize such crucial camps from their own side to avoid further such incidents as they are essential for training and exposure of promising athletes.

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